Cycling

#7 London X League

Saturday 19th October

Plupmton College, Ditchling, Brighton.

  • Weather: rain
  • Course: Fast but muddy sections, gravel hair-pins.
  • Highlight: cheering onlookers, showers and hose pipe
Happily muddy
Happily muddy

Today’s race was the first in proper ‘Belgian’ conditions; mud and rain (although pretty mild temperatures).

Having never ridden let alone raced on slidey mud I was pretty nervous going into this race and I must admit I really wanted to pull out in the first couple of laps because I was finding it so stressful just to stay upright round the corners.

Luckily I warmed into it and soon started to enjoy myself.

The start was gridded- the veteran and youth leaders (top ten or so) are pulled to the front of the start area and line up in formation like Formula 1. Then the girls. Then its survival of the strongest behind that.

At first this seems ideal as you’re already nearly at the front and there’s nobody slow to get in your way. And it is great if you’re confident enough to take advantage of it, but if you’re feeling less than confident then as soon as the bell goes every man and his dog (the entire rest of the field) wants to get past you and over/undertake you on the first corner.

But hopefully one day I’ll feel confident enough to make an aggressive start – in the meantime I just focus on surviving the first lap or two and then getting down to making my way back up the field.

Photo: UKCycleSport
Photo: UKCycleSport

The course itself, set in the grounds of Plumpton Agricultural College, was reasonably simple but due to the wet conditions became quite technical to navigate. A tight twisty section in the farmyard, followed by several grassy  switchbacks (like riding on ice) and then long, mostly smooth grassy sections that allowed quite a lot of speed. According to my Garmin I was just under 19mph on some parts.

Here’s another wonderful video by John;

I’m not sure why, but at cyclocross races every rider has a small chip (i’m not sure exactly what it is that’s stuck to my helmet….) which allows the race organisers to produce lap times in the results.

Its pretty interesting looking at them all.

The women’s race is run in conjunction with the veterans and juniors so even if there are only a few in your own category there’s still a race going on. This week only four girls braved the elements and journey down to Brighton, but there were 68 riders in our race.

Here are the ladies results;

Pos Bib Name Team Time Gap Lap 1 Lap 2 Lap 3 Lap 4 Lap 5 Lap 6 Lap 7
39 131 LOUISE MAHE    Mule bar Girls – Sigma Sport 47:52:00 1 lap 06:34 06:33 06:47 07:01 06:57 06:58 06:59
47 133 ALICE MILLER    Look mum no hands 49:36:00 1 lap 07:18 07:18 07:18 06:50 06:50 06:54 07:04
57 104 HOLLY MACMAHON    Team Darenth 52:22:00 1 lap 07:54 07:13 07:14 07:33 07:34 07:27 07:25
60 132 CHARLOTTE HAYWOOD    Unattached 53:16:00 1 lap 07:43 07:27 07:37 07:39 07:42 07:32 07:32

You can see Louise got a good start and went off with the fast men, keeping below 7 minutes per lap for the vast majority of the race. I had a much slower start in comparison but held a pretty consistent speed, increasing as I gained confidence.

In comparison, the winner of our race, Darren Barclay was riding well under 6 minute laps and finished 38 places ahead of Louise.

1 171 DARREN BARCLAY    Arctic SRAM 45:53:00 05:23 05:38 05:42 05:46 05:50 05:44 05:52

The men ‘s senior race (run separately after the Womens/Vets/Juniors has finished) were faster even again;

1 24  ANDREW TAYLOR    Jedi Cycle Sport 54:47:00 04:37 05:26 05:31 05:28 05:33 05:42 05:28 05:36 05:50

Full results are available here

Race summary; muddy and wet. Scary at first but I warmed into it. Plumpton is an amazing location with showers and hose pipes for cleaning off afterwards.

Photo: UKCycleSport
Photo: UKCycleSport

We then went to Brighton to fill up on cake. Badger decided he likes riding in hats.

BAdger

1 thought on “#7 London X League”

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